New report puts spotlight on soft skills development

by Brett Henebery04 Aug 2017
This week, a report by LinkedIn revealed that nearly a third of students who graduated in the last three years from Australian educational institutions studied a STEM degree, but many are not going on to work in STEM-related fields.

What’s more, the job market is struggling as it is losing nearly a fifth of this talent to overseas opportunities.

Nick O’Donnell, LinkedIn’s Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs APAC, said the company’s research shows that STEM graduates in Australia are pursuing more careers outside of STEM than they did ten years ago.

“This is largely due to the rapid adoption of technology across all industry functions – be it marketing, government administration or construction – that is raising demand for employees with a background in STEM,” he told L&D Professional.

“Apart from STEM skills, we also need to encourage soft skills development to ensure we have a workforce that has a good balance of technical and soft skills.”

O’Donnell said that through LinkedIn’s Economic Graph data, the company can offer governments valuable insights on the crucial skills needed for the modern workforce which will enable them to implement policies to equip students with the skills that will allow them to succeed.

By 2030 The New Work Smarts report forecasts that young people, on average will spend over 77% more time using STEM skills, due to the increasing role that technology and automation is playing across the fastest growing industries.

Independent education policy think tank, Mitchell Institute at Victoria University, said the latest report by Foundation for Young Australians strengthens calls to transform education in Australia.

“It is becoming more and more difficult for young Australians to find meaningful jobs and today’s findings show that without bold education changes, this will only worsen in the future,” Mitchell Institute Director, Megan O’Connell, said.

“Traditional knowledge and job-specific skills alone are not enough to thrive in a global workforce that experiences constant change”.

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